The Environment and Forestry Minister ordered recently APRIL to remove the newly-planted acacia and close any new canals that had been opened in their concession. APRIL however stated that the order was not valid, claiming that removing the planted acacia would disrupt the ecological functions of the peatlands, making them vulnerable to peat fires and encroachment. APRIL also announced that it would not harvest the newly-planted acacia that made up part of its new peat development. But according to the Director General, APRIL has to accept the legal consequences of the peat violations it has carried out. He explained that the rejection was conveyed by letter in response to the letter sent by the APRIL company to the minister containing the rejected proposals.

The ministry’s recent inspection in a concession belonging to PT RAPP, a subsidiary of APRIL, showed that the company continued to carry out new peat development and new acacia planting in this concession. “The findings of the legal analysis and ground checks performed by the ministry clearly prove that PT RAPP has perpetrated peat violations. As such, of course we rejected the APRIL company’s proposals,” San Afri Awang, the Ministry’s Director General of Forestry Planology and Environmental Governance, told

“The message of the President is clear, in that there will be no compromises when it comes to perpetrators of peat violations. We at the ministry are carrying this out as best we can” added San Afri Awang.

San Afri went padded that in early December, he observed first-hand the new peat development being undertaken in APRIL’s concession and also witnessed new peat development and newly-planted acacia in some of the Peat Restoration Agency’s targeted peat restoration areas. This is the reason why  the minister annulled the revised APRIL 10-year work plan of the APRIL in October (after the previous plan has been already rejected).